Just a short week ago, we went to Essex in order to see the mountain bike test event. The London Riots make this seem rather trivial, I know, but I didn't get around to summarising the event last week, so... The venue is Hadleigh farm, with views over the Thames estuary and Kent. It's an exposed spot, so if attendees in 2012 will need to take heed of the weather. If hot, sunscreen will be essential, and if windy, the rain will lash in.
The course itself is superbly put together, with great access for spectators. Some places (like the bottom of the 'leap of faith') are hard to get to - but I suggest that this was intentional to limit the numbers there. It is possible almost everywhere on the course to get 'front row' views of the action.
The event itself was very well organised, with ample parking, plenty of park and ride buses, helpful volunteers. It went very well indeed. Once back at the car, we were on the main road with no congestion.
What could be improved? They need some more informational screens out on the course, and possibly arrange a 'race radio' system so punters can tune in to commentary (not more tannoys, they'd just echo round and be annoying). The course maps about the place need to have 'you are here' stickers. Though I feel a bit of a heel for saying this, the volunteers as we left were overly 'in your face' with pleasantries - one or two was fine, but it was every single one on the way out and this became a bit annoying.
Overall, this is an event that, if representative, bodes well for the London 2012 Olympic games. Oh, and the French number 1 and current Olympic champion? He far outstripped everyone else, it was like they weren't even in contention by comparison. Barring accident and injury, I'm expecting Gold for him.